Today’s readings are a celebration of the Law of God. We should rejoice that we have a Father who cares enough to instruct and guide us.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Every parent knows that the rules and requirements we put on our children are not there as a pre-emptive punishment, but for their safety and to help them to grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted, compassionate, responsible people. The same goes for God—his law teaches us how to live lives of justice, mercy and love—they are no more pre-emptive punishment as our rule “don’t touch the hot stove.” The rules weren’t just read to the people, though; they were explained. Helping people to know the “why” of rules is really important for fostering respect for those rules.
The second reading fleshes the bottom line of God’s rules out for us—that all people should understand their dignity and honor as a child of God—that they should be made to feel important and loved no matter what they have to offer, and that whatever someone has to offer is a real contribution—not just a token.
Jesus brings it all home with the reading of the Jubilee text from Isaiah. He IS the fulfillment of the Law—and the way that he treated and loved the least respected members of society is how we are supposed to, too.
You can read this Sunday’s readings here:
Break Open the Word with Your Family
An experiment was done where kids were put on a playground that had no fence, but had woods near it. The kids stayed very close to the building. When a fence was put up, the kids spread out and used the whole playground. Boundaries help us feel safe. What are some things that your parents do, or rules that they have given you that help you feel safe?
The Second readings says, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’ Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.” Thinking of someone in your school, your social group, your team—think of who needs to be built up, given more honor in order to be treated as this reading says they should be. Try it out this week—choose a member of the Body of Christ (which is everyone) and treat them better than they are treated. See what happens.
In this, the Jubilee of Mercy, we hear Jesus read the Jubilee text from Isaiah. How are you living out God’s mercy in this year? Choose a Corporal Work of Mercy or Spiritual Work of Mercy and make it your business to live the heck out of it.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”